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'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for May 15th, 2013

THE LATEST IN UNAUTHORIZED GOSSIP AND BUZZ

FROM THE HEART OF CHICAGO'S SHOWTUNE VIDEO BARS,

AND MUSICAL THEATER NEWS FROM CHICAGO TO BROADWAY

by Paul W. Thompson

Overheard last weekend under the showtune

video screens at Sidetrack and The Call:

And so, that's it for "Smash." The workplace drama and lovelife soap opera set in the world of the contemporary Broadway musical was cancelled last Friday by NBC television after two seasons of lackluster and mostly falling ratings. Changes among writers and actors for the second season apparently did little to convince the powers-that-be that the show would be useful to the network in the long haul (and may have contributed to a perceived drop in quality), and viewer attempts to save the show (and a rise in viewership when the possibility of cancellation became apparent earlier this spring) were insufficient, or too late, or both. Sad, really. The show won a few awards, got some folks excited about musicals, and gave us "Let Me Be Your Star," "Don't Forget Me" and a few other well-loved video clips. It gave us great cameos by famous and not-famous Broadway stars. But mostly, it gave us that sinking feeling of wasted potential. I do hope that folks watch it on DVD for years and years, and that younger folks someday ask us older folks, "What happened?" Because I can't imagine there will be another hour-long drama set on Broadway anytime soon. This was it! Our golden age on network TV. Marilyn, we hardly knew ye. There's only one episode left--the two-hour, Tony Awards-based series finale on Saturday night, May 26, 2013, at 9:00 Eastern, 8:00 Central. Don't forget me, indeed. RIP.

NBC-Cancels-SMASH

Speaking of cancellation, er, closing, let's take a peek at shows on the boards here that will be leaving us soon. The highly discussed production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein "Oklahoma!" at Lyric Opera Of Chicago will close up (or is it "close down") as scheduled on Sunday, May 19th, and will undoubtedly leave many observers thinking, "did that just happen?" Also leaving us after this Sunday will be "The Pajama Game," being played at The Music Theatre Company in Highland Park. "Aspects Of Love," the rarely seen Andrew Lloyd Webber soaper set in post-war France, will also close this Sunday after a successful run at the No Exit Café, courtesy of Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre. Circle Theatre's similar "Death Takes A Holiday" has one more week at Stage 773, the Maury Yeston tuner running through May 26. Also closing May 26th will be the Rodgers and Hart "Pal Joey," the second most quintessential Chicago musical, running at Stage 773 from Porchlight Music Theatre. The Rodgers and Hammerstein "South Pacific" at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire and "Oliver" at the Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace each have two more weeks, closing June 2nd. Oh, my! Get thee to the appropriate box office or website!

http://www.theatreinchicago.com/

But there are always new shows in the pipeline, never you fear, my peeps! A new show begins performances at Black Ensemble Theater on NortH Clark Street on June 1st. It's "Ain't No Crying The Blues: In The Memory of Howlin Wolf." Jackie Taylor's 2003 bio-musical about the late blues legend Chester Arthur Burnett will once again star Rick Stone (from the movie "Cooley High") and will run through August 11. Ruben Echoles will direct.

IN-MEMORY-OF-HOWLIN-WOLF-Begins-6-1-at-Black-Ensemble-Theater


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Paul W. Thompson Paul W. Thompson, a contributor to BroadwayWorld.com since 2007, is a Chicago-based singer, actor, musical director, pianist, vocal coach, composer and commentator. His career as a performer, teacher and writer is centered at Paul W. Thompson Music, located in Chicago’s historic Fine Arts Building, where he teaches the great songs of Broadway to the next generation of musical theater performers. A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Paul was raised in a family of professional musicians and teachers, steeped in classical, gospel, country, pop, sacred and show music. Dubbed a “thin, winsome lad” at the age of 13 by a critic for the Nashville Banner, he earned two degrees in musical theater (a B.F.A. with Honors from Baylor University and an M.M. from the University of Miami, Florida), plus an M.B.A. with Distinction from DePaul University. Paul’s memberships include Actors’ Equity Association, the American Guild of Musical Artists, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (proud voter for the Grammy Awards!), the National Association of Teachers of Singing and New York’s Drama League.

Moving easily between the worlds of classical music, religious music, classic pop and musical theater, Paul has appeared onstage or in the orchestra pit in concerts, musicals, operettas and operas in 30 states and in Europe, in a career spanning more than 35 years. His Chicagoland stage credits include “Forever Plaid” at the Royal George Theater and twenty mainstage productions at Light Opera Works. Paul joined the Chicago Symphony Chorus in 1995 (he was Tenor I Section Leader for four years and sings on two Grammy-winning recordings), and is one of Chicago’s foremost liturgical singers, marking 20 years as a member of the choir at St. James Cathedral (Episcopal) in 2011.He has composed and arranged a number of anthems, hymns and songs for worship and concert use, and collaborates on the creation of new works of musical theater. Paul can be found on Monday nights watching showtune videos at the world-famous Sidetrack nightclub, the inspiration for his weekly column, “The Showtune Mosh Pit.” His proudest achievement is that he has seen the original Broadway production of every Tony Award-winning Best Musical since “Cats.” No, really. Since “Cats!”


 
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